Medicine Master Vaidurya Light is the name of this Buddha. Tathagata is one of the ten titles of all Buddhas. Past Vows refers to the vows to achieve Bodhi that Medicine Master Buddha made before he became a Buddha.
Merit and Virtue: Merit is created externally, while virtue is accumulated internally. One creates merit by building temples, repairing bridges or roads, or doing other work to benefit others. Virtue exists within oneself and does not rely on anything external. A virtuous person does not have a bad conscience. He has no reason to feel ashamed before the heavens or before other people. He doesn't cheat others, nor does he cheat himself. In everything he does, he creates outer merit and amasses inner virtue. A saying about virtue goes,
Good done in the hope that others will notice is not genuine good.
Evil done in the fear that others will find out is truly great evil.
Don't boast about yourself, saying, "I've done good deeds.
I've received the five precepts, the eight precepts, and the Bodhisattva precepts!" Virtuous deeds are done without others' knowing. If you want others to notice your good deeds, you are not virtuous. If you try to cover up your bad deeds, then your offenses are great indeed.
Buddhists should not be boastful or competitive, saying, "I've done many good deeds and made lots of donations! I really do a lot to support Buddhism!" People with such an attitude are not fit to be Dharma-protectors.
Therefore, in studying the teachings, we should remember this point. We should value genuine practice, not false publicity. This is very important. As Buddhists, we must be models for the world. If we have integrity and hold to our principles, other people will respect us and be influenced by us.
Sutra refers to the eternal Dharma, to teachings that are not subject to change. Since the Sutras are the teachings of sages, we should never delete or add even a single word to them. The word "Sutra" has many meanings, but in general, they do not go beyond the four meanings of "stringing together," "attracting," "constant," and a "standard."
The Four Meanings of "Sutra"
1. "Stringing together": The principles and meanings spoken by the Buddha are strung together from the beginning to the end.
2. "Attracting" means to gather in all living beings.
3. "Constant" means never changing from ancient times to the present. It is the same whether it is spoken by the Buddhas of the past, present, or future.
4. "A standard": A Sutra is a standard followed by all Buddhas and all living beings of the past, present, and future. By definition, a "standard" is honored by all throughout time.
The word Sutra has the meaning of "a chalkline," for it is like the marking line that carpenters used in ancient times for making straight lines. Sutra also means "bubbling spring," for it is like water gushing forth from a spring. Although the word "Sutra" contains a great many principles, you should remember the general meanings discussed above.
To be continued